Minutemailer is a so-called bootstrapped startup. We have not raised any external capital but are growing organically with revenue. To achieve this, we have minimal costs and spend the time we have between paid assignments to develop Minutemailer. This means that we do not have a company office but work remotely. How do we make it work?
Something that is important when working remotely is to have a clear plan and a common goal. It makes everything so much easier and you don’t have to have as many meetings. Especially if everyone who works in the team is motivated and reasonably experienced.
We have set up a clear plan for ourselves, about what we believe in, and what we will achieve in the coming months. Actively working with Trello as a tool for planning.
We have created different boards in Trello for different purposes. Current sprint is what we are working on right now. It should preferably not contain as much but is the board we use most and is divided into TODO, DOING, VERIFY and last DONE. When something is ready from DOING we put it in VERIFY to test and then move it to either DONE or TODO depending on the result.
Backlog is for all ideas and upcoming things we plan. It can be tasks of any size, but we know many things in the backlog will never get done. Either because they become outdated or never prioritized.
Then we have boards for the Admin interface, backend, frontend, live (where automatic bug reports end up), Site for external site, UI and Support to keep track of support matters. But most of the support is handled through Intercom.
We mainly use Intercom as a support tool. All incoming support emails as well as the chat both on the external site and for logged in users end up in Intercom. We have also linked our payment system Stripe to see data about paying customers there.
Using Intercom, we help answer and manage support issues that can be anything from bugs to frequently asked questions about a function or our prices. We notice that our users really appreciate the help they receive.
The channel that we in the team communicate the most through is Slack. A chat app for companies where you can create different channels for different purposes and also upload pictures and links.
We have also linked our payments from Stripe to a Slack channel so we can see when we receive a payment as well as our incoming support cases from Intercom to a channel. We can also see deploys of the service as well as automatic bug reports directly in Slack. It’s like a dashboard of what’s happening as well as an easy way to communicate wherever you are.
All our payments are made through Stripe which is also a good way to keep track of finances and customers as the service have a good dashboard and the connection to Slack. We can quickly see how things are doing for the service and in what direction things seem to go. Right now things are going well! : )
Digital tools in all honesty but we also usually try to work together physically as a team once a week. Then we either sit together at someones home or at a cafe in town and work together, have lunch and if things go well a beer or a glass of wine.
More tools for working as a remote team
Mural – digital meetings
Ideahunt – more efficient meetings
Microsoft Teams – work together as a team
Skype – video calls
Zoom – video calls
Whereby – video calls
Google Hangouts – video calls
Google Drive – work together in the cloud
Slides – create presentations together
Monday – work together in projects
Milanote – a tool for organizing creative projects
What are your tips for working remotely as a team? How do you make it work?